WHAT WE KNOW SO FAR
The Elder Scrolls Online is the most promising MMOs on the horizon. Offering modern large scale siege warfare in a three faction setting within the Elderscrolls Universe. Following the enormous success of Skyrim there are hordes of gamers interested in experiencing a fully realized Tamriel. ESO is currently in beta and the jury is out on if the game is ready for prime time. Bethesda and Zenimax have carved out an ambitious vision for this title. Intensive stress testing during beta will give a more accurate picture of the ability of ESO’s servers to handle the epic battles that will ultimately make or break this title.
Many MMORPG veterans still have fresh memories of recent grand failures. Star Wars: The Old Republic and Warhammer Online were supported by established and well loved intellectual properties. Both were released fundamentally unfinished and without sufficient stress testing quickly alienated even their core subscriber base resulting in waves of server closures and a hurried free to play model adoption. Star Wars: The Old Republic and Warhammer Online may blame their woes on the Electronic Arts kiss of death. Other game studios have also failed over the last few years to create a stable, profitable foundation to provide updates and maintain subscriber interest and loyalty. Rift, Aion, Tera, Darkfall, Final Fantasy XIV and other recent launches have all struggled to reach out beyond their niche followings to achieve broader mass market appeal.
Elder Scrolls Online faces an uphill battle to achieve success and long term stability, do justice to the 20 year legacy of the Elder Scrolls franchise and avoid the catastrophic failure that brought down previous triple AAA studios like Bioware.
That said, Bethesda and Zenimax have clearly been doing their homework. ESO game play immediately evokes a Guild Wars 2 action combat feel with a Skyrim user interface. Building upon tried and true mechanics from other Siege based games such as Warhammer Online and Guild Wars 2, destructible terrain, reliance on siege equipment, resources and territorial control. Public questing mechanics are also present in the form of Daedric Anchor events, immediately familiar to Dark Age of Camelot and Warhammer veterans
After 20 years of best-selling, award-winning fantasy role-playing games, the Elder Scrolls series goes online. Experience this epic adventure on your own or together with your friends, guild mates, and thousands of alliance members. Explore dangerous caves and dungeons, embark upon adventurous quests across Tamriel, and engage in massive player versus player battles, where the victors reap the spoils of war.
STORY OF ESO
It is a time of strife and unrest. Armies of revenants and dark spirits manifest in every corner of Tamriel. Winters grow colder and crops fail. Mystics are plagued by nightmares and portents of doom.
Four years ago, in 2E 578, an arcane explosion of energy in the Imperial City set off mystical aftershocks that swept across Nirn. Mages died or went mad. Supernatural abominations from the plane of Oblivion, the Daedra, appeared in greater numbers than ever before. The constellation of the Serpent grew so large that it dominated the night sky.
So began the grand scheme of Molag Bal, Daedric Prince of domination and enslavement. His Dark Anchors, vortexes of evil magic, weaken the barrier between worlds, threatening to merge Nirn and Oblivion into a single, nightmarish hellscape.
In the midst of this chaos, three alliances vie for control of the Imperial City and the White-Gold Tower. High Rock, Sentinel, and Orsinium stand as one, united under the rule of the High King in Wayrest. Valenwood and Elsweyr have forged an alliance of their own with Summerset, while Black Marsh, Morrowind, and Skyrim have formed a third, uneasy pact.
The Daggerfall Covenant. The Aldmeri Dominion. The Ebonheart Pact.
Three armies will take up arms against the Empire, and against each other, to wrest control of the Imperial City and White-Gold Tower from the dark forces of Oblivion itself.
Where do your loyalties lie?
Play the Way You Like
With an enhanced Elder Scrolls combat system, engage in real-time targeting and strategic attacks and blocks. Use any weapon or wear any armor at any time, no matter what type of character you play and develop your own style with deep character customization and abilities.
THE ALLIANCE WAR
The drums of war have reached a fever pitch, calling the warriors of Tamriel to the field of battle. The Daggerfall Covenant, the Ebonheart Pact, and the Aldmeri Dominion will take up arms and fight for control of Cyrodiil, the Imperial City, and the throne of Tamriel.
Featuring three-sided Player vs. Player (PvP) gameplay, The Elder Scrolls Online supports hundreds of players on screen at once in an open world fight for control of Cyrodiil. Seize, hold, and control the resources of massive strongholds. Utilize massive siege weapons to crumble fortress walls and smash through fortified gates. Conquer the Imperial City, and your alliance’s top player could even be crowned Emperor!
Get ready for the most intense online PvP experience ever created, with The Elder Scrolls Online.
In The Elder Scrolls Online, players choose to become members of one of three alliances. Each alliance has a unique story and specific goals.
The Daggerfall Covenant is comprised of the two Provinces of northwest Tamriel: High Rock and Hammerfell, home to the Bretons and the Redguards. The Covenant has also offered the Orcs the opportunity to return to their ancient homeland of Orsinium in exchange for their support. Working together, the three races have formed a powerful alliance that aims to restore the Second Empire and bring peace and prosperity back to Tamriel.
The Ebonheart Pact is the most tenuous of alliances, consisting of former enemies turned allies in northern and eastern Tamriel. The Nords, Dark Elves, and Argonians of Skyrim, Morrowind, and Black Marsh fight to restore stability to the Empire and ensure their own autonomy.
The Aldmeri Dominion is composed of the three races of southern Tamriel: the Wood Elves of Valenwood, the Khajiit of Elsweyr and the leaders of the Pact, the High Elves of the Summerset Isles. The Aldmeri Dominion fights to stop the dangerous machinations of humankind, and restore the Elven dominance in Tamriel.
MASSIVE, EPIC BATTLES
The Elder Scrolls Online features the largest PvP battles seen in a major online RPG. The game supports hundreds of onscreen players in epic battles. Swords and axes collide, spells and powers illuminate the ground and sky, and fires rage on embattled stronghold walls. Will you survive these epic battles? Can your overwhelming force take the keep, or will you be forced to retreat?
The Elder Scrolls Online is built to accommodate hundreds of players onscreen at once.
The three alliances do battle in the region of Cyrodiil, seeking to control the Imperial City and with it, the Ruby Throne of Tamriel. Each alliance must wrest control of strategic territories from the others, including massive fortresses, each with supporting farms, lumber mills, and other valuable resources.
Battles are concentrated around these resources and strongholds. Control of certain resources will extend the alliance’s influence in the region and help them take control of the Imperial City, and ultimately, control of the Ruby Throne itself.
Can you seize enough territory to control the Ruby Throne?
CONTROL ELDER SCROLLS
Elder Scrolls are artifacts of immense power that aid an alliance in the ongoing battle to control Tamriel by conferring bonuses to every member of that alliance. Each alliance has a special stronghold in Cyrodiil where their Elder Scrolls are kept and protected – but enemy alliances can break in and take them if they are not guarded properly. Once access is gained and a Scroll taken, it must be taken back across Cyrodiil and placed in the alliance’s stronghold. Only then are the bonuses of the Scroll bestowed upon all the members of that alliance.
Capture an Elder Scroll, protect it, and return it to your alliance’s stronghold to wield its power and gain bonuses.
The battles for keeps and resources require more than the clash of steel. Alliances must use massive siege weapons to break down walls, smash open doors, and obliterate the armies of their opponents.
Everything from trebuchets and catapults to ballistae and battering rams are available for players to capture and use, allowing them to demolish the stone walls of keeps and collapse massive gates to gain entrance to heavily defended strongholds.
In The Elder Scrolls Online, the highest-ranking player of an alliance is crowned Emperor when their alliance takes control of the Imperial City. You aren’t just fighting for your alliance; you’re fighting for the opportunity to be crowned Emperor, yourself.
Emperors gain special abilities that increase their prowess on the battlefield. They are true leaders of their alliance, and a force to be reckoned with.
An Emperor’s hold on power can be tenuous. Can your alliance protect all of the strongholds necessary to maintain your dominance? How long will your reign as Emperor last before an ambitious foe cuts you down?
Ruin Gaming Footage
Yongyea and Ruin Gaming have been producing comprehensive coverage of The Elder Scrolls Online. More coverage is available here.